of writing [at least] a poem a day!
On November 20, 2010, I began what would become this daily writing practice.
At that time, I had no idea it would last this long. But it has proven to be something that I truly consider the highlight of every day—when I can drop down into even a brief pocket of writing space, where, as I've also realized, my preferred way of processing whatever the world gives me, is in the language of poetry.
Here's what I said in the fifth year of my daily practice in an interview with Marly Youmans:
"In a lull just before Thanksgiving last year , I read Dave [Bonta]'s November 20 observation of a pileated woodpecker inching up the trunk of a locust tree “like a pawl on an invisible ratchet” and I thought: what a cool image, what a cool word—pawl—and immediately I wanted to turn it into a poem. […] I really didn’t intend for it to turn out into the daily “devotional” that it seems to have become, but now I’m thoroughly hooked.
What I’m happiest about is how I’ve incorporated it into my daily writing practice, and that the simple rules I’ve set for myself seem to work well in terms of getting me to that place of focus and attention where there is the potential for making poetry happen. My rules are: I don’t have a fixed time for visiting The Morning Porch to read the latest line Dave’s written. But when I do, I try to respond immediately, without premeditation, composing as I go. I try not to belabor what I find in the starting “trigger”—because I don’t see myself obligated to respond via a form of poetic reportage. What happens instead is that the bit of image or language that first catches my eye or ear, meets what I bring to that moment (a combination of many things—what I may have been reading or remembering recently, what kinds of questions I might be asking that particular day). Finally, I try to do all of this in thirty minutes, forty max; I feel that if I go over this time limit I set for myself, I will be belaboring the whole enterprise too much."
What I said then still holds true. I'm so grateful for anyone who might take time to read, and to Dave Bonta for generously sharing space at Via Negativa besides opportunities for fun collaborations. .
I've just created an account on Mastodon as ThePoetsLizard @ThePoetsLizard@universeodon.com —but my other social media accounts on FB and Instagram (@poetslizard) and Twitter (@ThePoetsLizard) are still active (& let's see for how long on the latter).
Also, because I've been asked quite often lately— as far as I know, a new Poet Laureate of Virginia has not yet been appointed. (My two year term officially ended 30 June this year.)
Thank you to the Academy of American Poets and my brilliant cohort of 2021-22 Poet Laureate Fellows ~
Our collaborative poem is now live!
... is the title of a long poem commissioned by the Hampton Roads Community Foundation for its 2022 Annual Report. The poem appears on page 34 of the Report booklet.
I'm so grateful to Cherise M. Newsome for the opportunity to converse about some of the important things that make Hampton Roads the community it is, for its diverse inhabitants.